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We partner with visionary entrepreneurs who are driven to revolutionize education

 

 

About

 

Owl Ventures is a venture capital fund that invests in the world’s leading education technology companies. We are laser-focused on the education market and take a hands-on approach in helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses into transformative category leading companies.

Current Portfolio

Abl. is building a software platform that seeks to become the operating system for 21st century schools. Their mission is to transform education by helping schools create flexible and collaborative learning environments by better leveraging their time and resources.

Founded at Rice University, Accelerate Learning has grown from a single product, STEMscopes, to a brand that now offers a variety of curriculum and professional development solutions that support early learning, Next Generation Science Standards, and state-aligned curriculum. 

Bakpax is a stealth-mode education technology startup using AI and Big Data to improve the lives of K-12 teachers and students. Teachers are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Bakpax wants to help carry some of the load.

 

BetterLesson offers personalized professional development for K-12 teachers and administrators. The company delivers one-on-one virtual coaching, asynchronous support, and research-based, teacher-created strategies through a platform that can be accessed via the web or on mobile devices.

Degreed is a lifelong learning platform that helps individuals and organizations find, track, and recognize all learning. They are helping 3+ million people at over 150 organizations build the skills they need to invent the future.

DreamBox® Learning is a K-8 adaptive learning math platform that captures every decision a student makes while working in the program. The platform has the ability to collect more than 50,000 data points during every hour that a student uses the platform and millions of paths through its curriculum.

 

Imbellus builds simulation-based cognitive assessments to evaluate how people think instead of what they know. Today, they're partnering with companies known for skills like problem solving, inquiry, analysis, and imagination that are critical to a rapidly changing world of work. Eventually Imbellus seeks to replace standardized tests. By reinventing the way we measure human potential, Imbellus will unlock opportunities to transform education for the next generation.

Kiddom is an operating system for K-12 classrooms that helps teachers plan, assess, and analyze learning. Kiddom solves a significant pain point for educators by integrating workflow and data enabling teachers and learners to unlock their full potential. 

Kuali delivers administrative software built specifically for higher education to more than 160 institutions using modern, cloud-based technologies. Thoughtfully-designed software streamlines processes to significantly reduce costs for student services, financials, research, and continuity planning.

 

LearnZillion offers a world-class digital curriculum and professional development platform that helps schools transition to the new standards. It was founded by a former principal and former teacher to serve a mission: helping teachers and parents meet the educational needs of all students.  

Lingo Live teaches employees at multinational companies to gain the English communication skills they need to move up in their career through live, personalized online lessons with native instructors over video conference. Lingo Live has taught employees at many of the largest and most innovative companies around the globe.

Newsela is addressing the needs of billions of students, adults and English language learners around the world who struggle to understand the content they want to read. Newsela's transformative literacy tool delivers daily news content at five reading levels and provides customized analytics to improve reading ability. 

 

Noodle Partners is an online program manager that provides the tools, services, and technology for institutions of higher education to offer high-quality, career-focused programs online. 

Panorama Education is bringing the power of data to education through an online platform. They help school districts, charter networks, and state governments conduct surveys of students, parents, teachers, and staff providing the analytical tools and solutions for improving schools.

Piper is a DIY computer kit that teaches engineering and programming to young students. Students assemble their own computer, with over 100 components, and then advance through a version of Minecraft Story. This hands-on approach promotes active problem-solving and empowers young people to help create the future.

 

Quizlet's study tools and applications are used by tens of millions of learners and teachers daily in countries around the world. Originally created by a high school sophomore to study French vocabulary, Quizlet is now one of the largest educational platforms in the world.

 

Raise is revolutionizing the way billions of dollars in college scholarships are accessed and distributed. Raise's online platform enables students to earn scholarships from colleges based on their academic and extracurricular achievements throughout high school.   

 

Securly is a cloud-based web-filtering solution designed to meet the needs of K-12 schools and parents that is re-shaping long held views on what it means to keep kids safe online. Securly filters unsafe social media, inappropriate websites and detects cyberbullying, threats of self-harm, and potential violence.

 

Swing Education is tackling the national substitute teacher shortage by offering an easy-to-use platform that connects quality, vetted substitute teachers with K-12 schools that need them. The company offers an end-to-end solution that helps schools offload tedious work associated with finding substitute teachers such as year-round recruiting, fingerprinting, permitting, onboarding, and payment to substitute teachers. 

 

Thinkful is a new type of school that brings high-growth tech careers to ambitious people everywhere. The company provides 1-on-1 learning through its network of industry experts, hiring partners, and online platform to deliver a structured and flexible education. Thinkful offers programs in web development and data science, with in-person communities in up-and-coming tech hubs around the U.S.

 

Tinkergarten is the leading provider of outdoor early childhood education. Tinkergarten's technology platform, unique workforce model, and fast growing network of leaders bring high quality, play-based early learning to families across
48 states.

News

 

Owl Ventures, EdTech VC, Raises $185M to Lead Education Innovation

Owl Ventures Launches $100 Million Education Investment Fund

Imbellus Raises $23 million to Take on the Testing Establishment

Swing Education Raises $15 Million to Connect More Schools With Substitute Teachers

Kiddom Raises $15m in Series B Funding From Owl Ventures

Degreed gets $42M to help build a tool to help employees learn the right skills

Kuali Raises $10 Million From Owl Ventures To Help Higher Ed Transform Administration

Thinkful Raises $9.6M to Grow In-Person Hubs for Its Online Coding Bootcamp

With $14M Fundraise, Noodle Wants Colleges to ‘Pick and Choose’ How They Build Online Programs

Virtual Coaching Platform BetterLesson Raises $10M Funding Round

Piper raises $7.6 million to expand its DIY computer kits for children

Tinkergarten Raises $5.4M to Get Kids to Go Outside, Play and Learn

Lingo Live raises $5.2 million to help employees become truly fluent

Securly raises $4 million to put guard rails on the internet for K-12 students

Accelerate Learning, Leader In PreK-12 STEM Education, Raises $10M Series A From Owl Ventures

Yammer co-founder Adam Pisoni raises $4.5 million for Abl Schools

Quizlet World's Most Popular Learning Tool, Passes One Billion Study Sessions; Raises $12M Series A

Newsela Makes More News With $15M Round Led By Kleiner Perkins

Newsela Raises $4.1 Million to Help Students Master Reading

Raise Labs Scores $4.5M to Help Students ‘Unlock’ Scholarship Money

Panorama Raises $12 Million to Help Schools Understand Their Students

DreamBox Learning® Secures $10 Million in Series B Funding

LearnZillion snaps up $13 mln

How one high schooler made $80K (without getting a job)

YouTube VP Matt Glotzbach Graduates to CEO Role at Quizlet

Team

Tim Patterson

Tory Patterson
Managing Director

Tory is actively involved with all facets of the firm and serves on the board of directors of Accelerate Learning, BetterLesson, Degreed, DreamBox Learning, Kiddom, LearnZillion, Newsela and Noodle Partners. As one of the pioneers in the next generation of EdTech companies, Tory has led investments in some of the most successful companies in the sector. As a lead investor and board member he has helped them across all facets including their sales and distribution models, hiring, funding and path to successful exit.

Prior to Owl Ventures, Tory was a Partner at Catamount Ventures where he founded and ran Catamount’s education investment practice and led investments in education companies TenMarks (acquired by Amazon), MasteryConnect, PresenceLearning and EdSurge. Tory began his career as an investment banker focused on technology and healthcare companies holding investment banking positions with GCA Savvian, Wells Fargo Securities and Robertson Stephens. Tory is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and holds a B.A.in Economics from Williams College and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Amit Patel
Managing Director

Amit has experience scaling several education start-ups and is deeply committed to building new organizations that will create sustainable and higher quality education solutions. Amit has worked closely with all companies in the Owl Ventures portfolio and serves on the board of Kuali, Lingo Live, Panorama Education, Securly, Swing Education, Thinkful and Tinkergarten. 

Before joining Owl Ventures, Amit founded and sold Personal Academic Trainers, an afterschool tutoring company, and created the quality assurance program and institutionalized sales training for Mathnasium Learning Centers, an after-school math learning center franchise with over 600 locations in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Amit also served as the Director of Technology for Success Academy Charter Schools, a premier charter school network in New York City with 34 schools. He received a B.A. in Mathematical Economic Analysis from Rice University and studied theatre/film at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and New York University. Amit was an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellow, and he earned a M.B.A./M.A. in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Education. 


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Ian Chiu
Managing Director

Across his career, Ian has been an investor, entrepreneur, and advisor to education and technology companies. He brings a wealth of education investing and board experience to the Owl Ventures team. Prior to joining Owl Ventures, Ian led the education sector at Warburg Pincus and served on the Board of Directors of Stratford Schools, Liaison International, Dude Solutions, and Civitas Learning. Before Warburg Pincus, Ian was a technology investor at Silver Lake Partners and a consultant at Bain & Company. He also helped launch BigMachines (acquired by Oracle), a leading configure, price, quote (CPQ) SaaS vendor, where he focused on business development.

Prior to his professional career, Ian was the lead author of Caution: Watch for Scholarships Ahead, a practical guide for students to navigate the complex scholarship application process, which was endorsed by Stanford University’s Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid. Ian is a graduate of Stanford University, where he earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, with Distinction, and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering, with a concentration in technology management and entrepreneurship. He also received his M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar and Arbuckle Leadership Fellow.


Costin

Tom Costin
Managing Director

Tom works across all business and investment facets of the firm and leads portfolio services, marketing and business development. Over his career, Tom has held numerous investment, managerial and advisory roles. Prior to Owl Ventures, he was a Private Investments Specialist at Cambridge Associates. In this role he advised, or invested on behalf of families, nonprofits, endowments and pension funds with assets ranging from $800 million to over $200 billion on their venture capital and private equity investments. Tom has also served as a Managing Director at SoleTech, a leading supplier of materials and products for the footwear and orthopedic industries. As an M.B.A. intern, Tom worked with the founding team at Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT), where he helped create the company’s business plan and constructed revenue models. Prior to business school, Tom served as an Associate at FLAG Capital and as a Senior Associate at Cambridge Associates. Tom received a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


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Kate Chhabra
Chief Financial Officer and Partner

Kate Chhabra is the Chief Financial Officer and Partner at Owl Ventures. Kate has over 20 years of operating experience, ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations. She is responsible for overseeing the operational and administrative functions at Owl Ventures. Kate began her career at ATEL Capital, a large San Francisco based leasing company, working in operations and human resources. She returned to human resources at CriticalArc Technologies, Inc. during its early seed stage. Later, she assumed all administration functions within the company as head of administration, overseeing both the accounting and office management departments as well. After CriticalArc, Kate acted as Director of Operations for a small business establishing and maintaining their operational procedures and basic administration. She then joined Catamount Ventures in 2003 and served as the Chief Financial Officer. Kate received a B.A. degree from The George Washington University.


Ashley Bittner
Principal

Ashley has played a leading role across a variety of education organizations, ranging from schools, to districts, to start-ups, to the Federal government. Ashley has worked closely with all companies in the Owl Ventures portfolio and has gained significant board experience as a board observer for ABL, BakPax, BetterLesson, Degreed, Kiddom, LearnZillion, Noodle Partners and Piper.

Before joining the Owl Ventures, Ashley served as a White House appointee to the U.S. Department of Education where she worked in the Office of Innovation and Improvement to support the development and scaling of innovative approaches to improving student outcomes across the country. Specifically, Ashley led the Department’s efforts to expand access to early college experiences for over 20,000 low-income students per year. Ashley has also worked as a Consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, where she advised retail companies and philanthropic institutions and conducted due diligence for private equity funds. Ashley began her career as a 7th and 8th grade Social Studies teacher in the Bronx through Teach for America. Ashley earned an M.B.A. from the Wharton School and a M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and History, with minors in economics and Latin American Studies, from the University of Florida Honors Program. Ashley is a Truman Scholar for the state of Florida (2006).


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Jed Smith
Founder & Senior Adviser

Jed has dedicated his business career to the art of entrepreneurship and to making a difference. Jed has been a Managing Director at Owl Ventures and serves on the board of Abl., Piper and RaiseMe. He was the Founder of Catamount Ventures where he has served as Managing Partner since its inception in 2000. Catamount Ventures raised four funds totaling over $200M and invested in 35 entrepreneurial enterprises. Jed currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Linden Labs and Revolution Foods. In addition, he serves on the Boards of directors of Amour Vert and Banyan Water and has also previously served as founding Director and Chairman of Plum Organics and on the board of directors of Seventh Generation. Prior to launching Catamount, Jed wrote the business plan and founded drugstore.com in 1997 that ultimately sold to Walgreens for ~$450M. He has also served on the boards of several education and non-profit institutions, including the Monterey Institute for International Studies, Shackleton Schools, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and Middlebury College. Jed earned a BA from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Jobs

Our growing portfolio companies are seeking passionate and skilled people who want to create innovative solutions to the most meaningful education issues. The Owl Ventures team is also seeking an investment team professional to join our growing team as we scale the firm.

Email us at recruiting@owlvc.com if you are interested in working with our team or one of our portfolio companies.